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Design and Fabrication of a Low-Cost Gripper for a Swarm Robotic Platform

Description

This thesis details the design and construction of a torque-controlled robotic gripper for use with the Pheeno swarm robotics platform. This project required expertise from several fields of study including: robotic design, programming, rapid prototyping, and control theory. An electronic

This thesis details the design and construction of a torque-controlled robotic gripper for use with the Pheeno swarm robotics platform. This project required expertise from several fields of study including: robotic design, programming, rapid prototyping, and control theory. An electronic Inertial Measurement Unit and a DC Motor were both used along with 3D printed plastic components and an electronic motor control board to develop a functional open-loop controlled gripper for use in collective transportation experiments. Code was developed that effectively acquired and filtered rate of rotation data alongside other code that allows for straightforward control of the DC motor through experimentally derived relationships between the voltage applied to the DC motor and the torque output of the DC motor. Additionally, several versions of the physical components are described through their development.

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2019-05

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Attitudes Towards Autonomous Vehicles (AVs): Insights Gained through Surveys and Proposed Experiments on a Small-Scale Traffic Testbed

Description

In the next decade or so, there will be a shift in the industry of transportation across the world. Already today we have autonomous vehicles (AVs) tested in the Greater Phoenix area showing that the technology has improved to a

In the next decade or so, there will be a shift in the industry of transportation across the world. Already today we have autonomous vehicles (AVs) tested in the Greater Phoenix area showing that the technology has improved to a level available to the public eye. Although this technology is not yet released commercially (for the most part), it is being used and will continue to be used to develop a safer future. With a high incidence of human error causing accidents, many expect that autonomous vehicles will be safer than human drivers. They do still require driver attention and sometimes intervention to ensure safety, but for the most part are much safer. In just the United States alone, there were 40,000 deaths due to car accidents last year [1]. If traffic fatalities were considered a disease, this would be an epidemic. The technology behind autonomous vehicles will allow for a much safer environment and increased mobility and independence for people who cannot drive and struggle with public transport. There are many opportunities for autonomous vehicles in the transportation industry. Companies can save a lot more money on shipping by cutting the costs of human drivers and trucks on the road, even allowing for simpler drop shipments should the necessary AI be developed.Research is even being done by several labs at Arizona State University. For example, Dr. Spring Berman’s Autonomous Collective Systems Lab has been collaborating with Dr. Nancy Cooke of Human Systems Engineering to develop a traffic testbed, CHARTopolis, to study the risks of driver-AV interactions and the psychological effects of AVs on human drivers on a small scale. This testbed will be used by researchers from their labs and others to develop testing on reaction, trust, and user experience with AVs in a safe environment that simulates conditions similar to those experienced by full-size AVs. Using a new type of small robot that emulates an AV, developed in Dr. Berman’s lab, participants will be able to remotely drive around a model city environment and interact with other AV-like robots using the cameras and LiDAR sensors on the remotely driven robot to guide them.
Although these commercial and research systems are still in testing, it is important to understand how AVs are being marketed to the general public and how they are perceived, so that one day they may be effectively adopted into everyday life. People do not want to see a car they do not trust on the same roads as them, so the questions are: why don’t people trust them, and how can companies and researchers improve the trustworthiness of the vehicles?

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2019-05

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Image Processing for an Autonomous Throwing Arm and Smart Catching System

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In this paper, we propose an autonomous throwing and catching system to be developed as a preliminary step towards the refinement of a robotic arm capable of improving strength and motor function in the limb. This will be accomplished by

In this paper, we propose an autonomous throwing and catching system to be developed as a preliminary step towards the refinement of a robotic arm capable of improving strength and motor function in the limb. This will be accomplished by first autonomizing simpler movements, such as throwing a ball. In this system, an autonomous thrower will detect a desired target through the use of image processing. The launch angle and direction necessary to hit the target will then be calculated, followed by the launching of the ball. The smart catcher will then detect the ball as it is in the air, calculate its expected landing location based on its initial trajectory, and adjust its position so that the ball lands in the center of the target. The thrower will then proceed to compare the actual landing position with the position where it expected the ball to land, and adjust its calculations accordingly for the next throw. By utilizing this method of feedback, the throwing arm will be able to automatically correct itself. This means that the thrower will ideally be able to hit the target exactly in the center within a few throws, regardless of any additional uncertainty in the system. This project will focus of the controller and image processing components necessary for the autonomous throwing arm to be able to detect the position of the target at which it will be aiming, and for the smart catcher to be able to detect the position of the projectile and estimate its final landing position by tracking its current trajectory.

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2018-05

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Analysis of Local Minima arising from Potential-Based Controllers for Multi-Robot Transport with Convex Obstacle Avoidance

Description

This thesis presents a process by which a controller used for collective transport tasks is qualitatively studied and probed for presence of undesirable equilibrium states that could entrap the system and prevent it from converging to a target state. Fields

This thesis presents a process by which a controller used for collective transport tasks is qualitatively studied and probed for presence of undesirable equilibrium states that could entrap the system and prevent it from converging to a target state. Fields of study relevant to this project include dynamic system modeling, modern control theory, script-based system simulation, and autonomous systems design. Simulation and computational software MATLAB and Simulink® were used in this thesis.
To achieve this goal, a model of a swarm performing a collective transport task in a bounded domain featuring convex obstacles was simulated in MATLAB/ Simulink®. The closed-loop dynamic equations of this model were linearized about an equilibrium state with angular acceleration and linear acceleration set to zero. The simulation was run over 30 times to confirm system ability to successfully transport the payload to a goal point without colliding with obstacles and determine ideal operating conditions by testing various orientations of objects in the bounded domain. An additional purely MATLAB simulation was run to identify local minima of the Hessian of the navigation-like potential function. By calculating this Hessian periodically throughout the system’s progress and determining the signs of its eigenvalues, a system could check whether it is trapped in a local minimum, and potentially dislodge itself through implementation of a stochastic term in the robot controllers. The eigenvalues of the Hessian calculated in this research suggested the model local minima were degenerate, indicating an error in the mathematical model for this system, which likely incurred during linearization of this highly nonlinear system.

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2020-12

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Modeling and control of flapping wing micro aerial vehicles

Description

Interest in Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) research has surged over the past decade. MAVs offer new capabilities for intelligence gathering, reconnaissance, site mapping, communications, search and rescue, etc. This thesis discusses key modeling and control aspects of flapping wing MAVs

Interest in Micro Aerial Vehicle (MAV) research has surged over the past decade. MAVs offer new capabilities for intelligence gathering, reconnaissance, site mapping, communications, search and rescue, etc. This thesis discusses key modeling and control aspects of flapping wing MAVs in hover. A three degree of freedom nonlinear model is used to describe the flapping wing vehicle. Averaging theory is used to obtain a nonlinear average model. The equilibrium of this model is then analyzed. A linear model is then obtained to describe the vehicle near hover. LQR is used to as the main control system design methodology. It is used, together with a nonlinear parameter optimization algorithm, to design a family multivariable control system for the MAV. Critical performance trade-offs are illuminated. Properties at both the plant output and input are examined. Very specific rules of thumb are given for control system design. The conservatism of the rules are also discussed. Issues addressed include

What should the control system bandwidth be vis--vis the flapping frequency (so that averaging the nonlinear system is valid)?

When is first order averaging sufficient? When is higher order averaging necessary?

When can wing mass be neglected and when does wing mass become critical to model?

This includes how and when the rules given can be tightened; i.e. made less conservative.

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2015

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Control and Estimation Theory in Ranging Applications

Description

For the last 50 years, oscillator modeling in ranging systems has received considerable

attention. Many components in a navigation system, such as the master oscillator

driving the receiver system, as well the master oscillator in the transmitting system

contribute significantly to timing errors.

For the last 50 years, oscillator modeling in ranging systems has received considerable

attention. Many components in a navigation system, such as the master oscillator

driving the receiver system, as well the master oscillator in the transmitting system

contribute significantly to timing errors. Algorithms in the navigation processor must

be able to predict and compensate such errors to achieve a specified accuracy. While

much work has been done on the fundamentals of these problems, the thinking on said

problems has not progressed. On the hardware end, the designers of local oscillators

focus on synthesized frequency and loop noise bandwidth. This does nothing to

mitigate, or reduce frequency stability degradation in band. Similarly, there are not

systematic methods to accommodate phase and frequency anomalies such as clock

jumps. Phase locked loops are fundamentally control systems, and while control

theory has had significant advancement over the last 30 years, the design of timekeeping

sources has not advanced beyond classical control. On the software end,

single or two state oscillator models are typically embedded in a Kalman Filter to

alleviate time errors between the transmitter and receiver clock. Such models are

appropriate for short term time accuracy, but insufficient for long term time accuracy.

Additionally, flicker frequency noise may be present in oscillators, and it presents

mathematical modeling complications. This work proposes novel H∞ control methods

to address the shortcomings in the standard design of time-keeping phase locked loops.

Such methods allow the designer to address frequency stability degradation as well

as high phase/frequency dynamics. Additionally, finite-dimensional approximants of

flicker frequency noise that are more representative of the truth system than the

tradition Gauss Markov approach are derived. Last, to maintain timing accuracy in

a wide variety of operating environments, novel Banks of Adaptive Extended Kalman

Filters are used to address both stochastic and dynamic uncertainty.

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Date Created
2020

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Haptic perception, decision-making, and learning for manipulation with artificial hands

Description

Robotic systems are outmatched by the abilities of the human hand to perceive and manipulate the world. Human hands are able to physically interact with the world to perceive, learn, and act to accomplish tasks. Limitations of robotic systems to

Robotic systems are outmatched by the abilities of the human hand to perceive and manipulate the world. Human hands are able to physically interact with the world to perceive, learn, and act to accomplish tasks. Limitations of robotic systems to interact with and manipulate the world diminish their usefulness. In order to advance robot end effectors, specifically artificial hands, rich multimodal tactile sensing is needed. In this work, a multi-articulating, anthropomorphic robot testbed was developed for investigating tactile sensory stimuli during finger-object interactions. The artificial finger is controlled by a tendon-driven remote actuation system that allows for modular control of any tendon-driven end effector and capabilities for both speed and strength. The artificial proprioception system enables direct measurement of joint angles and tendon tensions while temperature, vibration, and skin deformation are provided by a multimodal tactile sensor. Next, attention was focused on real-time artificial perception for decision-making. A robotic system needs to perceive its environment in order to make decisions. Specific actions such as “exploratory procedures” can be employed to classify and characterize object features. Prior work on offline perception was extended to develop an anytime predictive model that returns the probability of having touched a specific feature of an object based on minimally processed sensor data. Developing models for anytime classification of features facilitates real-time action-perception loops. Finally, by combining real-time action-perception with reinforcement learning, a policy was learned to complete a functional contour-following task: closing a deformable ziplock bag. The approach relies only on proprioceptive and localized tactile data. A Contextual Multi-Armed Bandit (C-MAB) reinforcement learning algorithm was implemented to maximize cumulative rewards within a finite time period by balancing exploration versus exploitation of the action space. Performance of the C-MAB learner was compared to a benchmark Q-learner that eventually returns the optimal policy. To assess robustness and generalizability, the learned policy was tested on variations of the original contour-following task. The work presented contributes to the full range of tools necessary to advance the abilities of artificial hands with respect to dexterity, perception, decision-making, and learning.

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2016

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On the effect of walking surface stiffness on inter-leg coordination during human walking: a unique perspective to robot-assisted gait rehabilitation

Description

Millions of individuals suffer from gait impairments due to stroke or other neurological disorders. A primary goal of patients is to walk independently, but most patients only achieve a poor functional outcome five years after injury. Despite the

Millions of individuals suffer from gait impairments due to stroke or other neurological disorders. A primary goal of patients is to walk independently, but most patients only achieve a poor functional outcome five years after injury. Despite the growing interest in using robotic devices for rehabilitation of sensorimotor function, state-of-the-art robotic interventions in gait therapy have not resulted in improved outcomes when compared to traditional treadmill-based therapy. Because bipedal walking requires neural coupling and dynamic interactions between the legs, a fundamental understanding of the sensorimotor mechanisms of inter-leg coordination during walking is needed to inform robotic interventions in gait therapy. This dissertation presents a systematic exploration of sensorimotor mechanisms of inter-leg coordination by studying the effect of unilateral perturbations of the walking surface stiffness on contralateral muscle activation in healthy populations. An analysis of the contribution of several sensory modalities to the muscle activation of the opposite leg provides new insight into the sensorimotor control mechanisms utilized in human walking, including the role of supra-spinal neural circuits in inter-leg coordination. Based on these insights, a model is created which relates the unilateral deflection of the walking surface to the resulting neuromuscular activation in the opposite leg. Additionally, case studies with hemiplegic walkers indicate the existence of the observed mechanism in neurologically impaired walkers. The results of this dissertation suggest a novel approach to gait therapy for hemiplegic patients in which desired muscle activity is evoked in the impaired leg by only interacting with the healthy leg. One of the most significant advantages of this approach over current rehabilitation protocols is the safety of the patient since there is no direct manipulation of the impaired leg. Therefore, the methods and results presented in this dissertation represent a potential paradigm shift in robot-assisted gait therapy.

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2017

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Design of an Immersive Virtual Environment to Investigate How Different Drivers Crash in Trolley-Problem Scenarios

Description

The Autonomous Vehicle (AV), also known as self-driving car, promises to be a game changer for the transportation industry. This technology is predicted to drastically reduce the number of traffic fatalities due to human error [21].

However, road driving at

The Autonomous Vehicle (AV), also known as self-driving car, promises to be a game changer for the transportation industry. This technology is predicted to drastically reduce the number of traffic fatalities due to human error [21].

However, road driving at any reasonable speed involves some risks. Therefore, even with high-tech AV algorithms and sophisticated sensors, there may be unavoidable crashes due to imperfection of the AV systems, or unexpected encounters with wildlife, children and pedestrians. Whenever there is a risk involved, there is the need for an ethical decision to be made [33].

While ethical and moral decision-making in humans has long been studied by experts, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) also calls for machine ethics. To study the different moral and ethical decisions made by humans, experts may use the Trolley Problem [34], which is a scenario where one must pull a switch near a trolley track to redirect the trolley to kill one person on the track or do nothing, which will result in the deaths of five people. While it is important to take into account the input of members of a society and perform studies to understand how humans crash during unavoidable accidents to help program moral and ethical decision-making into self-driving cars, using the classical trolley problem is not ideal, as it is unrealistic and does not represent moral situations that people face in the real world.

This work seeks to increase the realism of the classical trolley problem for use in studies on moral and ethical decision-making by simulating realistic driving conditions in an immersive virtual environment with unavoidable crash scenarios, to investigate how drivers crash during these scenarios. Chapter 1 gives an in-depth background into autonomous vehicles and relevant ethical and moral problems; Chapter 2 describes current state-of-the-art online tools and simulators that were developed to study moral decision-making during unavoidable crashes. Chapters 3 focuses on building the simulator and the design of the crash scenarios. Chapter 4 describes human subjects experiments that were conducted with the simulator and their results, and Chapter 5 provides conclusions and avenues for future work.

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Date Created
2019

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Modeling, Design, and Control of Multiple Quadrotors

Description

In the last few decades, with the revolution of availability of low-cost microelectronics, which allow fast and complex computations to be performed on board, there has been increasing attention to aerial vehicles, especially rotary-wing vehicles. This is because of their

In the last few decades, with the revolution of availability of low-cost microelectronics, which allow fast and complex computations to be performed on board, there has been increasing attention to aerial vehicles, especially rotary-wing vehicles. This is because of their ability to vertically takeoff and land (VTOL), which make them appropriate for urban environments where no runways are needed. Quadrotors took considerable attention in research and development due to their symmetric body, which makes them simpler to model and control compared to other configurations.

One contribution of this work is the design of a new open-source based Quadrotor platform for research. This platform is compatible with both HTC Vive Tracking System (HVTS) and OptiTrack Motion Capture System, Robot Operating System (ROS), and MAVLINK communication protocol.

The thesis examined both nonlinear and linear modeling of a 6-DOF rigid-body quadrotor's dynamics along with actuator dynamics. Nonlinear/linear models are used to develop control laws for both low-level and high-level hierarchical control structures. Both HVTS and OptiTrack were used to demonstrate path following for single and multiple quadrotors. Hardware and simulation data are compared. In short, this work establishes a foundation for future work on formation flight of multi-quadrotor.

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2019